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Ji-li was confronted with the conflict of trying to write something bad about her teachers when asked to write a da-zi-bao in school.
A da-zi-bao is a “big character poster” where insults and accusations could be written and posted for everyone to see during China’s Cultural Revolution. Instead of learning at school, the children are forced to write many da-zi-bao posters, which are hung outside in the playground.
But now that I actually had to criticize the teachers who taught us every day, I could not find anything really bad to say about them. (ch 3, p. 39)
Ji-li has to write the posters, but she does not feel comfortable with it. When her parents heard about the da-zi-bao, they suggested she stay home “for a few days” (ch 3, p. 50). Later, Ji-li was saddened over the “terrible insults” when she remembered this time in her life.
The da-zi-bao method was an excellent way to brainwash children to internalize the idea that their teachers, and anyone else who represented the old ideas, were bad. Ji-li felt uncomfortable with this, and it put her at risk.
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